S.E.L.F. care is priceless!

S.E.L.F. care is priceless!

The past few years have seen STRESS take centre stage in many places and it comes as no surprise that it has been labelled “the health epidemic of the 21st century.” Then the COVID-19 pandemic moved stress and mental health in general to another level never experienced in modern times. I dare say that never in the history of the world have so many people experienced similar feelings at the same time. What about the World Wars?

It is heart-warming that one will most likely be applauded when they state clearly how they feel and put their mental health above all others. Well only a few people will still judge people who see the need to make self-care a priority.

Many people have proposed practical ways to manage stress but when all is said and done we have to change our mindset and realise none of us is immune to stress. We can’t even achieve our lofty goals without some element of stress. As Hall and Sanders put it “the biggest misconception about stress is that we have to beat it; when we make stress the enemy we actually create more stress for ourselves. While stress may arise from unregulated negative emotions, intentionally activating positive heart emotions such as care, appreciation, compassion and ease, decrease your stress by creating harmony. POSITIVE THINKING isn’t enough here. It must be positive feelings from the heart to affect your body and brain.  It all comes down to learning how to react positively from a mental and emotional standpoint to negative stressors in our lives.” Oh and I know that is no walk in the park but the benefits outweigh the downsides so let us start now.

If you are like the majority of people it may be time to set realistic expectations; continuously seeking bigger and better things in every aspect of our lives may be self-destructive as we may be setting ourselves up for failure. I just read your thoughts; there is a fine line between continuous self-improvement and setting unrealistic goals.

Hall’s acronym “S.E.L.F. care” is extremely helpful and easy to remember as well as follow. Give it a try now and incorporate it into your activities of daily living.

S stands for serenity, E for exercise, L for love and F for food!!

  • Serenity

Five minutes of “Me-Time” does a world of good to us. It reboots our mind and body and we should incorporate time in our schedule no matter how busy or “stressed” we may think we are. It could just be sitting briefly to meditate or pray. Spending time to do deep belly-breathing, progressively relaxing our muscles, listening to music or even taking a long relaxing bath if you are lucky to have water. Well it may also be time to count your blessings.

  • Exercise

Physical activity does amazing things to our physical and mental health and we should not short-change ourselves on this. You do not need to exercise for hours to reap these benefits; Just Do It even if it means walking for five minutes a day and gradually adding on to it BUT do remember SITTING for long hours is probably one of the worst things you could do to yourself.

  • Love

When Jesus asked us to love one another He was setting us up to live a rounded , robust life.” Isolation they say kills and community heals” and it is not surprising that having strong social ties is a major factor in longevity. The pandemic has definitely taught us that as humans we are all social animals. We can surround ourselves with a core group of caring family or friends. Some people also believe in the power of pets and yes there is evidence to support the benefits as well.

  • Food

Healthy food has a way of lifting our mood but there is the risk of unhealthy snacking as well. Avoid drowning your “sorrow” in alcohol and do not overdo caffeinated beverages.

Adding anti-oxidants like cocoa to your food is PRICELESS!

As much as possible make healthy food choices and your mood and mental health will thank you.

No one has all the answers to managing stress but I trust you will benefit from some of these. Make the choice that puts your S.E.L.F. first.


Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel

Health Essentials Ltd/ St Andrews Clinic/Mobissel

Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.

 Thought for the week–“STIGMATISATION has no place in fighting this pandemic. It will cause people to hide and not disclose their status, seek medical care late and reduce all the benefits of protocols. We should all be comfortable enough to tell our close contacts when we test positive for COVID-19 so that the proper measures are taken. This is extremely important if we have to win this fight.”- Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel


  1. Special TIME edition on STRESS; “Expert-Backed Ways to Deal” by Audrey Noble
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